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Everyone’s got a black-dial watch, right? As far as versatility is concerned, it’s a no-brainer if you’re only going to have one watch and wear it every day. It performs admirably in myriad situations, from a backyard BBQ to a black-tie wedding.
And maybe you’ve got a blue-dial watch, too. Depending on the particular shade and how it reflects light, it can work just as well as a black dial, offering up just a bit of playfulness for anyone willing to look close enough.
But today we’d like to advocate for a third, often overlooked option: the white dial.
There’s a boldness to a white dial that’s somewhat surprising. Sure, it’s just white after all — it’s not like we’re talking about bright yellow or anything — be like how it grabs your attention without seeming desperate, providing a clean canvas that shows off the watch’s features better than any other color. And because of that? Well, you better make sure you’ve got a well-designed timepiece on your wrist.
Below, 10 that fit the bill perfectly.
Junghans Max Bill Automatic
Designed by ’60s Bauhaus artist Max Bill, this minimalist German watch is far more elegant than anything else you’ll find in the sub-$1000 category. It’s a pitch-perfect dress watch and just whimsical enough to be worn in more casual settings as well.
A workhorse pilot watch with superior readability and a rugged quality that makes it the perfect watch to pair with jeans and a t-shirt.
Nomos Club 701
German watch manufacturer Nomos probably makes more white-dial watches than anyone else, but this one is our favorite. It comes in at a tasteful 36mm, perfect for smaller wrists, and it’s got a little pop of color to keep things interesting.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300
TAG has given its vaunted Aquaracer line a bit of a facelift recently, and we’re loving this 36mm special edition with black gold-played hands and a bright, silver-lacquered dial.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic 10518
A solid, relatively affordable option that, just oozes class. You get a black alligator leather strap, a transparent sapphire case back and, our favorite part, those slightly oversized hour markers.
Breitling Chronomat Colt Automatic 41
Released a few years back at Baselworld 2018, the updated Chronomat Colt Automatic is an entry-level watch in the Breitling line, but it still boasts an impressive wrist presence.
Bell & Ross V1-92 Racing Bird
Limited to just 999 pieces, the V1-92 was released in conjunction with the BR-Bird, an airplane designed by Bell & Ross to compete in the Reno Air Races, where precision built aircrafts travel at very high speeds and very low altitudes. Yikes. More importantly, the watch is a total looker.
Omega Aqua Terra 150m
This might not seem like much, considering the $5,500 price tag, but up close, the Aqua Terra 150m really shines, with its applied logo and hour markers and textured dial.
Rolex Explorer II
Probably the most iconic modern white-dial watch, the Explorer II is an attention grabber like almost no other in the Rolex lineup — and that’s saying something.
Patek Philippe 10518 Calatrava
The ultimate flex is of course the flex that only the most tuned-in aficionados will even notice. Enter the Patek Philippe Calatrava, done here in white gold and featuring a shiny black alligator strap, an understated dial with shades of gray and a small-seconds complication above the 6 o’clock marker.
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